Once upon a time, many years ago, when her two boys were small, and she was a stay at home mom, Christine Merrill decided it was time to fulfill her childhood dream and become a writer.
Since romance writers were obviously the easiest sort of writer to be, she would do that. And she would live the lapdog petting, chaise lounging, tiara wearing life, just like Barbara Cartland, and be happy ever after.
Years passed. She wandered in the wilderness and was punished for her hubris. She learned about writing: why it is bad to head hop, why she should have listened closer in 8th grade English on the whole ‘comflict thing’, and first hand what it was like to live stages three through eleven of the Hero’s Journey.
And then, everything changed. She won the RWA’s Golden Heart contest for unpublished manuscripts. The winning story, soon to be known as THE INCONVENIENT DUCHESS, was bought by the contest judges, the delightful editors at Mills & Boon, in Richmond, Surrey.
Chris is now living the life of her dreams which, strangely enough, is a lot like the life she always had. Her tiara is plastic and lights up if you press a button. Her chaise is an overstuffed recliner, and the labradoodle lounging on it thinks that, at seventy pounds, he is still puppy enough to sit on her lap.
Her family has kept its sense of humor about her career change. Her sons are teenagers, and emphatically do not want to know what she’s writing. Her husband is adept at dodging questions about ‘romance writing research’. Her goldfish are unimpressed by her success and her cat doesn’t give a damn either.
And she lives happily ever after.
Three Regency tales of festive wishes come true…
CAPTAIN GREY'S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL by Carla Kelly
Captain Grey had been fighting malarial fever in Savannah when he met Theodora Winnings. He proposed by letter—but it's taken ten years to receive her reply. The answer was "yes!"—but is she still free to become his Christmas bride?
HER CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Christine Merrill
Faith Strickland's plan to marry to save her family backfires when notorious rake James Leggett sets out to break her unhappy engagement. He'll storm her Twelfth Night celebrations and scorch her into surrender!
AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY by Janice Preston
Lonely Diana Fleming knows handsome knights don't really exist. But can a festive kiss from the man she loves reawaken her frozen heart?
Bought for Ten Thousand Pounds!
Ex-soldier Frederick Challenger may own a share of London’s most secret gentlemen’s club, but he has long since stopped sampling its delights…until a beautiful woman auctions her innocence.
Georgiana Knight’s plan had been to lure in a villain, but instead she’s trapped the devil himself. And now, to protect her reputation, she must marry him! But if Frederick has hopes of taming this temptress, he’ll have to think again…
The Society of Wicked Gentlemen The hour is late and the stakes are high
When the coach she’s riding in is attacked by highwaymen, Arabella Scott is saved by Lieutenant Richard Acherton and carried off his home, an isolated Cornish manor house that is even darker and more forbidding than its owner.
Are the spirits haunting Penlowen real, or only in the tormented mind of her rescuer?
Widowed Emma Hammond has resigned herself to life as an unwanted, poor relation until the mysterious Chal Pannell appears, seeking the half Romani child that has been rejected by her family.
Emma needs to escape the loveless marriage that has been arranged for her. Chal wants a woman to warm his bed and ease the grief he suffers from the loss of his wife. But their quest to find the missing boy awakens passionate feelings that neither one expected.
The engagement escapade!
This season, all eyes are on biddable, well-connected Lady Belle. And for ambitious Benjamin Lovell, she's the perfect candidate for a convenient marriage. First, though, he must contend with her fiercely protective sister, Lady Amelia Summoner.
Amy is determined that only the right man will win her sister, and rakish Benjamin is certainly not that. Every move he makes, she'll be one step ahead! Until the games get out of hand…and Amy realizes she's broken her own rules and fallen for Ben herself!
"What do I want? Satisfaction. Reparation. Revenge…"
Though Gerald Wiscombe left for war a naive boy, he returns a man determined to claim what's rightfully his! But when Gerry suspects that his wife has been less than faithful in his absence, he intends to seek the truth.
Lillian has endured all she can to protect her beloved son, until the arrival of her war-hero husband. Now, not only is Lily faced with revealing terrible secrets she has hidden for years, but also an attraction that bewitches her beyond her senses…
Mistress or Wife?
Independent Margot de Bryun has no intention of giving a man control of her life! Although handsome rake Stephen Standish, Marquess of Fanworth, does pique her interest… Maybe a man can offer other advantages?
Stephen sees Margot as perfect marriage material—talented, intelligent and alluring. But when a stolen family ruby is traced to the jewelry shop Margot owns, Stephen is infuriated and demands she become his mistress. Except Margot's not one to be easily tamed—and whether she be mistress or wife, sparks will certainly fly!
"Merrill delivers another juicy, scandalous romance." —RT Book Reviews on The Fall of a Saint
The wife he doesn't know…
When William Felkirk opens his eyes, the past six months are blank. What happened? And who is this beautiful woman claiming to be his wife and caring for his broken body?
Justine will do anything to protect her sister, even if that means pretending to be a stranger's wife. She must guard the reasons for her deception with her life. But with every passing day, William unlocks her heart just a little more, and Justine knows she won't be able to hide the truth forever….
A reluctant rake and a ruined woman with nothing to lose are a perfect match in this delightful comedy of manners from Christine Merrill...
Vincent Wilmont, the Earl of Blackthorne, makes a point of living up to his reputation as a rake, even though his heart isn't quite in it. Indeed, his heart rests with Caroline Sydney, the ruined woman who’d gone to his bed in passion after she'd rejected his cool-headed offer of respectable marriage. A year later, she's cast him off, humiliated him in front of all of London society, all because he made the damn-fool mistake of telling her he loved her.
Blackthorne’s public humiliation earns him admittance into the Hephaestus Club, a secret brotherhood of societal rejects, and there he swears never to marry, putting money down on the oath. When the wager provides a motivation for a smart, if skint, gentleman matchmaker to cash in, Blackthorne and the fiery Miss Sydney find themselves the starring players in a romantic farce filled with duels, declarations and passionate trysts as they rocket down a path toward a horrifyingly respectable future as man and wife.
THE ONLY WOMAN WHO CAN MAKE HIM REPENT!
Honorable—and handsome to boot!—Michael Poole, Duke of St. Aldric, has earned his nickname "The Saint." But the ton would shudder if they knew the truth. Because, thrust into a world of debauchery, this saint has turned sinner!
With the appearance of fallen governess Madeline Cranston—carrying his heir—St. Aldric looks for redemption through a marriage of convenience. But the intriguing Madeline is far from a dutiful duchess, and soon this saint is indulging in the most sinful of thoughts…while his new wife vows to make him pay for his past.
The Sinner and the Saint
Brothers separated at birth, brought together by scandal
Giving in to temptation would be the ruin of them all!
Having spent years believing a lie about his birth, Dr. Samuel Hastings has been condemned to a personal hell of his desire's making—his sinful thoughts of the one woman he can never touch would damn his soul for eternity.
Lady Evelyn Thorne is engaged to the very suitable Duke of St. Aldric when a shocking truth is revealed—and now Sam will play every bit of the devil to seduce the woman he thought would always be denied him!
Dear Cici and Father,
I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I'm more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.
Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled—and determined—to make their marriage real!
Daphne Collingham is masquerading as a governess in Lord Timothy Colton's home— determined to discover if he is responsible for her beloved cousin's death. She's prepared to uncover secrets and scandal, but the biggest revelation is the way she feels under the lord's dark gaze….
Lord Colton is suspicious of the alluring new governess—and with the furor surrounding him he must control his passion. But a man has his limits, and the delectable Miss Collingham is pure temptation….
Shy heiress Miss Penelope Winthorpe was only trying to escape her bullying brother. She never meant to wed a noble lord over a blacksmith's anvil!
Adam Felkirk, Duke of Bellston, had no intention of taking a wife. But then Penelope's plight moved him. Now the notorious rake has a new aim—to shock and seduce his prim and proper bride.
But the gorgeous duke will be taught a lesson of his own as scholarly Miss Winthorpe becomes his seductive duchess!
Though Lieutenant Tom Godfrey had never met Victoria Paget, he desired her. The late Captain Paget's stories of his wife--and her portrait--were enough to arouse his envy...and his lust. Now Tom's returned from the peninsula--and never expected to find the young widow in a bawdy house!
Necessity had brought Victoria to the house of ill repute: it was the only place she could confront Tom, whom she suspected was responsible for her husband's death. But when she meets the virile soldier, his gallantry and her body's passionate response to him take her completely by surprise.
What started as a one-night seduction may lead to much more...but will they still have a future when all their secrets are revealed?
Constance Townley, Duchess of Wellford, has always been impeccably behaved. So why does she suddenly feel a wild urge to kick over the traces?
Anthony de Portnay Smythe is a mysterious figure. A gentleman by day, he steals secrets for the government by night.
When Constance finds a man in her bedroom late at night, her first instinct is to call for help. But something stops her. The thief apologizes and gracefully takes his leave…with a kiss for good measure!
And Constance knows that won't be the last she sees of this intriguing rogue….
Miss Esme Canville's brutal father is resolved to marry her off—but she won't submit tamely to his decree. Instead, she'll offer herself to notorious rake Captain St. John Radwell and enjoy all the freedom of a mistress!
St. John is intent on mending his rakish ways. He won't seduce an innocent virgin. But Esme is determined, beautiful and very, very tempting….